The “Shapeshifter” Railtour, Sat September 26th 1998
Something different from Mercia, a simple straightforward Railtour with very sociable timings of a 0900 departure ex Padd and a return around 1530. 5 different locos of which I scored 4 37212, 37238, 56072 and 58045, although not all tour participants were so lucky.
HSTs noses nicely aligned at Paddington country end
47825 awaiting departure time with the 0925 Padd – Manchester
Perhaps the stars of the Shapeshifter tour, 37212 and 37238 simmering away before departure time
With 37238 and snow plough fitted 37212 growled down the GW mainline at reasonable haste but much noise on a grey Berkshire morning . The tour was a big rake of Mk I’s and there was plenty of spare tables to spread out on and enjoy the journey.
56072 at Swindon prior to a good scream through Chippenham and Westbury
Stopping only at Slough and Reading we were thrashing through Didcot around 10am where more 37s were stabled. After just 77 miles behind each tractor we arrived at a still grey Swindon where 56072 replaced the “tractors”. We then headed West through Chippenham turning left at Thingley Jn for the only rare track of the tour from Thingley to Bradford Jns. At Westbury a rare non stop run through the station saw much thrash on passing and the long climb up to Warminster, super stuff.
In torrential rain 47276 awaits departure time with the tour from Salisbury
An hours stop at Salisbury coincided with heavy rain which literally dampened spirits, as perhaps did, once boilered (although she’d been boiler isolated for at least 15 years) Tinsley “heap” 47276 attached to the tour. So we strummed along former “Crompton” haunts like Andover before stopping at a monsoonal Basingstoke for the final loco change
The forwarding loco wasn’t at Basingstoke , some feared a through 47 to Padd, but after 30 minutes or so, biggie 58045 arrived. The “bone” at a steady pace through thumper haunts to Reading and then a final exhilerating storm back to Padd.
Not an everybody sight at the Paddington blocks, 58045 wth the tour having worked from Bas
Sadly this straightforward loco tour from Mercia wasn’t repeated , i suppose the empty seats on the “Shapeshifter” explaining this. Still an excellent day out for those aboard.
Organiser Mercia Charters
Stock 12 X Mk I
321433} 0631 M.Keynes-Euston LB-EU
37212} 1Z30 0902 Padd-Salisbury ‘Shapeshifter Tour’ PD-SW
47825 0852 Padd-Manchester
56072 1Z30 0902 Padd-Salisbury Tour SW-SA(via Chip,Warm)
47276 1Z96 1410 Salisbury-Padd Tour SA-BA
58045 1Z96 1410 Salisbury-Padd Tour BA-PD (via Reading)
321403 1624 Euston-Northampton EU-LB